Millions will see Calgary-made mascots on Super Bowl Sunday
Pat the Patriot and Rampage were created by Street Characters Inc.
This story was originally published on Jan. 30.
Sewing machines clatter in a Calgary prop studio — where two Super Bowl stars were born.
Pat, the mascot for the New England Patriots, and Rampage, the Los Angeles Rams' mascot, were created here at Street Characters Inc.
"It's actually really surreal," says prop maker Rob Hayward, who worked on both characters.
Street Characters' roots trace back to the 1980s, when founder Glenn Street was performing as Harvey the Hound, the NHL's first ever mascot. While wearing the Harvey suit, Street was approached by other teams wanting a character of their own. He formed the company in 1987 to seize on the opportunity.
He formed the company in 1987 to seize on the opportunity.
It started with Harvey the Hound
Since then, it's been responsible for creating or repairing some A-list celebrities of the furry variety, from the A&W Root Bear and the Energizer bunny to sports team mascots from around the world.
Sunday's showdown between the Patriots and Rams marks the second year in a row that both mascots at the Super Bowl were created in the Calgary studio.
The costumes will get a massive audience, with more than 100 million people expected to tune into the big game.
Hayward, who calls himself a sports nut, has his money on New England, but his heart is with L.A., because Rampage is now one of his favourite creations.
"When you build some mascots and you put them together, they have a look and feel and a vibe that just makes you feel good and Rampage is one of those. And I just love him," Hayward says.
"He's technically a little difficult to work on because of the horns and the (challenges of) balancing the fit. But when it all pulls together and the performer loves it and the crowd loves it. I follow my mascots on Instagram and I know the reaction they get."
Street Characters takes pride in the fact its mascots are durable.
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams body-slammed Pat the Patriot during a Pro Bowl practice last week, reportedly leaving the person in the suit with a sore jaw, neck and back.
Mascots made to last
"The one thing I'm most proud of about that is that we build mascots to last," Hayward said. "He took that hit, and I wasn't even concerned about the mascot itself, I was concerned about the performer.
"Anything we can do to make his job easier (we'll do). He moves around better, he entertains the crowd more, that's what brings us more business and more pride."
The company's studio in Vista Heights is filled with rolls of fabric, half-made characters, sewing machines, a slew of tools and a team of designers working away in an unusual profession.
They've made thousands of mascots, from a western hat-wearing hot dog and walking gas pump, to a pylon and grocery bag filled to the brim.
"I have the best job," said Benedicte Le Bel, the production manager.
"I get first view on all the new projects, all of the new ideas, all the innovation. I get to talk to the clients about their projects. I get to inspire them and I get to get inspired by my team."
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- Based on incorrect information on the company website, an earlier version of this story said Glenn Street was involved in creating the NHL's first mascot, Harvey the Hound of the Calgary Flames, in 1984. In fact, Grant Kelba created Harvey the Hound and Street became involved later.Feb 04, 2019 10:38 AM MT
With files from Anis Heydari